Tuesday, December 7 2021
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After being drafted No. 3 overall by the Charlotte Hornets in 2020, LaMelo Ball surpassed expectations in his first year in the NBA en route to winning Rookie of the Year. For a 19-year-old who has had the spotlight on him since he was a freshman in high school, a vocally confident dad who made dozens of assurances about his three sons and an older brother who was also drafted in the Top 3 just a few years prior, there was tons of pressure on Ball to succeed. 

But that pressure never hindered Ball’s performance through his first season in the league, a testament to the overflowing confidence he exudes not just in his play, but n the way he talks, too. During an interview with GQ, that confidence once again came through, this time it was about how he always knew he was destined for the NBA.

“My whole life, I always knew I was going to the NBA,” Ball said. “I always knew. Everything about this felt normal to me. I knew I’d have stardom. I grew up into it. I already had my life planned out. My whole life, I thought I was the star… I ain’t even gonna say I’m a rock star. It’s something other than that. I’m something rare.”

If it were anyone other than Ball saying those comments, it would come across as cocky and he would get killed on social media for being too confident in himself. Actually, that may still happen. But given that Ball’s path to the NBA has, like he said, been planned out since he was 15 years old, it’s not a completely ridiculous thing for him to say. 

After gaining national attention by dropping 92 points in a high school game, followed by years of his father, LaVar Ball, telling anyone and everyone who would listen that all three of his sons would make it to the league, it was pretty public knowledge that Ball’s path was going to be the NBA. But he wouldn’t get there without the talent he possesses, even if his journey to being the No. 3 pick was a little unorthodox after foregoing high school and college to play professionally overseas in Lithuania and Australia. A process that LaMelo believes was the correct decision for him. 

“You wanna go to the league, so school’s not your priority,” Ball said. He thinks the NCAA has to change and there should be more options for kids to make money before they get to the NBA (the Supreme Court opened a pathway toward that in a landmark ruling shortly after our interview). “We not trippin’ off school. We not dumb. We know how to learn. We don’t need school. And school not even teachin’ you s—-what the f— is school?”

The Hornets star later took to Instagram to clarify what he meant by those comments, explaining that he was simply trying to say that school isn’t for everybody and that he was fully invested in what was “Plan A” for him, which was the NBA. 

Once he got to the NBA, he’s backed up all the hype that’s surrounded him for years, showing that he has the potential to be an All-Star level player in the league for a long time. He earned a spot in the starting lineup with the Hornets after starting the season on the bench. 

Over the course of 51 games, he averaged 15.7 points, 6.1 assists and six rebounds, and was a key piece in getting Charlotte to the play-in tournament where they fell to the Indiana Pacers. The only thing that slowed him down last season was a wrist injury that kept him sidelined for 20 games, but when he returned his development didn’t stop. Ball’s brought excitement back to the Hornets franchise in just one season and has given the team a bright future to look forward to. So, I guess you could say that is rare. 

Source: CBSSports.com

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